March 27, 2008
KRAKOW, Poland – Goals by a pair of defenders and a swerving free kick from Eddie Lewis paced the U.S. to a convincing 3-0 win against Poland as the U.S. improved their lifetime record against Poland to an even 7-7-2. Landon Donovan provided both assists on the first half goals from Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu as the U.S. remained unbeaten in 2008, posting a 2-0-1 record.
At Clemson, Onyewu was named to the Soccer America MVP team in 2001 and was named NSCAA All-American in 2001. He was a Hermann Award Finalist in 2001, and was named first-team All-ACC in 2000 and 2001.
Onyewu scored the game-winning goal in the ACC Championship match vs. North Carolina (11-3-01) and two goals in the closing minutes of the NCAA Tournament match vs. Alabama-Birmingham (12-2-01). He was a member of the ACC 50-Year Anniversary Team and a starter on the 2006 US World Cup team
The victory marked the first time the U.S. MNT has won consecutive games on European soil. The U.S. defeated Switzerland, 1-0, in Basel on Oct. 17, 2007, in their last trip across the pond. The three-goal margin of victory was also the largest for the U.S. in Europe since a 3-0 victory against Austria in Vienna in 1998.
“I thought it was a great team effort tonight,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “Obviously we took advantage of set pieces, which is always a positive. More importantly, we showed the mentality and discipline necessary to win games on the road against good opponents like Poland. I thought the crowd tonight was fantastic. It was a special atmosphere, one that our players really appreciated.”
After coming off the field in Krakow, the U.S. learned their opponent for the second round of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, as Barbados defeated Dominica 1-0 to win the first-round series 2-1 on aggregate. The U.S. hosts their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played either June 20 or 21 in Barbados.
In preparation for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, the U.S. will play a set of friendlies in Europe, facing England on May 28 in London before moving to continental Europe to play fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander. Kickoff against England at the new, 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium is set for 8 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Univision.
Against Poland, the U.S. came out organized and disciplined from the opening whistle, and Bradley’s side dealt with the slippery conditions much better than the hosts. Time and again, the U.S. pressure led to poor passes and turnovers from Poland, and the U.S. was able to string together series of combinations to create opportunities.
The U.S. snatched the lead in the 12th minute off a trademark Donovan free kick, which was earned when a charging Heath Pearce was fouled on the left flank. Set up 25 yards from goal along the sideline, he swerved an in-swinger six yards in front of the near post, where Bocanegra laid more shoulder than head to the ball, directing a shot to the lower left corner. The goal marked the ninth international strike for the U.S. captain, who was named Sierra Mist Man of the Match for also having an impressive performance with his defensive duties to help earn the shutout.
Offensively, the U.S. continued to maintain pressure, while staying strong in the back. The central tandem of Bocanegra and Onyewu kept the middle clean and Steve Cherundolo and Pearce contained the runs of the Polish wingers.
Another service from Donovan, who earned his 99th cap against Poland, led to the USA doubling their advantage in the 35th minute. This time it was Onyewu who was on the end of the expert service. A corner kick delivery from the right reached the head of the 6’4″ defender, who got free when defender Marcin Wasilewski slipped while jostling in the area. Onyewu made no mistake, powering home a drive from seven yards to record the fourth goal of his career, and mark the first ever time scoring in back-to-back games.
Despite several changes at halftime by Leo Beenhhakker, the U.S. never took their foot off the gas and nearly struck again just three minutes into the second stanza. Taking advantage of a miscue by defender Grzegorz Bronowicki, who was the last man with Poland’s entire team pushed forward, Donovan snuck behind him and stole the ball inside the midfield circle. With Bronowicki chasing, Donovan sprinted in alone on goal and tried to curl a shot to the far corner when the ‘keeper came to cut off his angle, but his attempt narrowly skimmed past the right post.
A pair of second-half substitutes combined to end all hope for Poland in the 73rd minute. A foul on Josh Wolff about 20 yards from goal set the table, leaving Lewis and Clint Dempsey standing over the ball. It would be Lewis to pull the trigger, the left-footer bending a wicked strike over the Polish wall that nestled into the lower right corner.
Poland’s best chance of the night was in the 30th minute when a poor clearance by Pearce allowed Poland to regain possession near the top of the penalty area. The ball was eventually played back to Dariusz Dudka and he unleashed a bullet on target, but Tim Howard was up to the challenge, diving to his left to push it wide of the post. With only three saves on the night, Howard picked up his 11th career shutout and 18th career victory.
Another dangerous chance for Poland came in the 56th minute when second-half substitute Radoslaw Matusiak pulled off a nice spin on Onyewu from outside the box, collected the ball and then unleashed a shot, but his attempt was over the crossbar.
U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report Match-up: USA vs. Poland Date: March 26, 2008 Competition: International Friendly Venue: Wisla Stadium – Krakow, Poland Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET Attendance: 20,000 – sell out Weather: Cold, Snowy
Scoring Summary: Team – 1, 2 = F USA – 2, 1 = 3 POL – 0, 0 = 0
Scoring: USA – Carlos Bocanegra (Landon Donovan) 12th minute USA – Oguchi Onyewu (Landon Donovan) 35. USA – Eddie Lewis 73.
Lineups: USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo (17-Jonathan Spector, 72), 22-Oguchi Onyewu (23-Jay DeMerit, 63), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 5-Heath Pearce (20-Benny Feilhaber, 85); 10-Landon Donovan (7-Eddie Lewis, 64) 13-Ricardo Clark, 4-Michael Bradley, 8-Clint Dempsey; 11-Brian Ching (16-Josh Wolff, 63), 9-Eddie Johnson Subs not used: 24-Marcus Hahnemann, 12-Cory Gibbs Head Coach: Bob Bradley
POL: 1-Artur Boruc; 13-Marcin Wasilewski, 6-Jacek Bak, 16-Arkadiusz Radomski (19-Michal Golinski, 63), 3-Grzegorz Bronowicki; 21-Lukasz Piszczek (17-Wojciech Lobodzinski, 46), 18-Mariusz Lewandowski, 5-Dariusz Dudka, 8-Jacek Krzynowek (7-Euzebiusz Smolarek, 46); 9-Maciej Zurawski (10-Lukasz Gargula, 46), 20-Pawel Brozek (11-Radolsaw Matusiak, 46) Subs not used: 2-Mariusz Jop, 4-Pawel Golanski, 12-Tomasz Kuszczak, 15-Michal Pazdan Head Coach: Leo Beenhakker
Stats Summary: USA / POL Shots 10 / 9 Shots on goal 5 / 3 Saves 3 / 2 Corner Kicks 6 / 8 Fouls 8 / 9 Offside 3 / 2
Misconduct Summary: POL – Marcin Wasilewski (caution) 37th minute. USA – Josh Wolff (caution) 89.
Officials: Referee: Anders Hermansen (DEN) First Asst.: Ole V. Hansen (DEN) Second Asst.: Anders Norrestrand (DEN) Fourth Official: Krzysztof Myrmus (POL)
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